Girl rock climbing at Rumney in New Hampshire

Your Climbing Guide to Rumney Rocks 

Photo: vonnahmed1/Shutterstock

How to find world-class cliffs in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

A mere two hours north of Boston, Rumney Rocks Climbing Area holds a spot on just about every climber’s tick list. It just takes one look at the silvery schist, striking rock features, and mind-blowing fall foliage to understand the hype. Add to that short approaches and high-quality climbing at every grade, and you’ve got a zone that’s fun and accessible for climbers of any level.

Rumney Rocks lies within the White Mountain National Forest, just outside the little town of Rumney, New Hampshire. The zone consists of 28 different cliffs, several of which are just a five-minute walk from the parking area. Most of the lines here are bolted, though you’ll find a few high-quality trad lines tracing various cracks and corners.

Climbers have been coming to Rumney since the 1960s, which means that word of the wondrous rock has had over 50 years to spread. These days, crowding is likely, especially on weekends and holidays. Plan to arrive early to snag parking. And at the end of the day, head to the river: Nothing beats a dunk in the Baker after a long day of working hard in the heat.

Recommended Routes

If you’re new to outdoor rock climbing, set your sights on Jimmy Cliff, a sunny spot comprised of two separate rock faces. Try The Nuthatch (5.7) or Junco (5.8+), both named for local birds. Jimmy Cliff is also a great spot to practice multi-pitch climbing; Clip a Dee Doo Dah (5.3) and Lady and the Tramp (5.4) are each two pitches.

Looking for moderates? Head to the shady Meadows area, which is just a five-minute walk from the car (come early; the short approach makes this place popular). New trad leaders should try the aptly named Beginner Route (5.5) or Holderness School Corner (5.8), while sport leaders will find a slew of high-quality 5.10s to entertain. Misdemeanor (5.10b) and Cold Turkey (5.10c) are highly recommended.

Finally, for more seasoned climbers, the Orange Crush crag is a must-visit. Here, highly rated 5.11s and 5.12s abound. Try Black Mamba (5.11c), Orangahang (5.12a), or, if you’re feeling strong, Predator (5.13b).

When To Go

Rumney’s prime climbing seasons are spring and fall. If you’re new to the area, consider timing your visit with the American Alpine Club’s Rumney Craggin’ Classic, an annual climbing festival packed with guided clinics, presentations, live music, and events.

Getting There

From Boston, hop on Interstate 93 headed north. Take Exit 26 and follow Route 25 west to get to the town of Rumney. From Main Street, head west along Buffalo Road for just short of a mile. There you’ll find the Rumney Rocks trailhead.


There are two available parking areas, in addition to the American Alpine Club campground lot. All parking requires a paid fee or permit (see below). You can also park at the library in town and carpool from there. (Note: Parking along the road is illegal. Come back later or go elsewhere if the lots are full.)

Passes and Permits

You’ll need a U.S. Forest Service recreation pass to visit Rumney Rocks. These can be purchased online. You can also purchase a day-use parking pass from the trailhead kiosk.


The Rumney Rattlesnake Campground, maintained by the American Alpine Club, is an iconic climbers’ campground right across the road from the Rumney Rocks trailhead (reserve spots ahead online). If it’s full, the Mountain Pines Cam

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.